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By December of 1944, the German war machine was in a very perilous situation. Allies had invaded Normandy in June of 1944, and since then had been driving relentlessly through Axis-occupied France and Italy while the Soviets had driven back German advances and entered into eastern Axis territories.

Hitler's idea for a surprise counterattack against the US and British was not for an overwhelming victory, but mainly to try and broker a separate peace treaty independent of the Soviets. If a peace could be settled against the US and Britain, it would also free up large amounts of men and materials that could be put to use on the Eastern Front. The plan of German attack would be a blitzkrieg attack through the Ardennes Mountains to attempt to separate British and American forces and capture the city of Antwerp.

The initial German assault on December 16, 1944 was fairly successful, catching most of the Allies off guard at the speed and size of the offensive. The weather during the attack was also favorable to the Germans, since the low overcast and fog prevented Allied air support from assisting the defenders. Although initially successful, tenacious defense along the thinly-defended line slowed the German advance enough for reinforcements to arrive and push back the attack.

Although it came relatively close to success, the Battle of the Bulge ended up costing the Germans a large amount of men and material - neither of which could be replaced by Germany at this stage of the war.

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If being an infantryman isn't dangerous enough for you, maybe you would be more interested in serving in Special Forces. Read online about what it takes to join the Green Berets or become a Ranger by clicking the image.

Discover all of the jobs or MOSs (military occupational specialties) available in the US Army by clicking the above image. You can see a sorted list of jobs from infantryman to counter-intelligence to heavy artillery mechanic.

Learn when and how to wear the camouflaged Army Combat Uniform or the dressy blue Army Service Uniform, as well as approved hair, tattoos, jewelry, and other aspects of your appearance by clicking the above image.

Don't be the poor guy at boot camp that salutes a sergeant or casually walks up to a captain. Click the above image to take a look at all of the enlisted, warrant officer, and officer ranks and memorize them.

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) determines if you are eligible to join and what jobs you qualify for. Click the image to read more about the ASVAB and test your knowledge with the two practice tests.

Going to college? ROTC can help pay for your education, give you excellent military skills and knowledge training, and direct you into an officer position after graduation. Visit the ROTC section by clicking the above image.

Learn more about serving in the US Army Reserves. Find out the duty requirements, length of enlistment, and other information by clicking the image to go to the Reserves section of Army.com.

When you join the US Army, what are the various locations you could be stationed? Click the image to see how others have rated the installations and some knowledge online that may make your move there more enjoyable.

The US Armed Forces uses a phonetic alphabet to help when communicating. It will prove to make your life better than "OK." In fact, if you click the above image and memorize this system, you'll find life to be "Oscar Kilo."

Save yourself some push-ups from your drill sergeant at basic training by clicking the above image to read and memorize the Seven Core Army Values (LDRSHIP), General Orders to all soldiers, and the Soldier's Creed.

Catch up on the latest Army-related news stories. Become informed on developments in benefits. Find jokes to tickle your funny bone. And read survival tips from the US Army Survival Manual. Our bloggers' posts are collected here.
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